Sixers' Al Horford Isn't Concerned About Trade Rumors
When the Philadelphia 76ers inked former Boston Celtics big man Al Horford to a costly four-year deal, many were concerned about his potential fit on the team. Sure, Horford's veteran leadership could be useful for a locker room with tons of young and inexperienced players, but his style of play didn't exactly match what the Sixers needed.
In Boston and Atlanta, Horford was a center who could occasionally knock down some long-range shots. In Philadelphia, though, Horford is playing a lot of power forward and is shooting threes at a career-high pace. It was fair to question Horford's fit alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons heading into the season.
At this point, the concerns are proven to be legitimate. Hence the reason why Sixers' head coach Brett Brown decided to move the $100 million man to the bench when both Simmons and Embiid are healthy. Lately, Horford hasn't lived up to his contract, and the four-year deal may create buyer's remorse for Elton Brand every time Horford takes the court.
But for now, the Sixers can't give up. With the trade deadline in the past, the next time the Sixers' front office could potentially strike a deal to ditch the Horford experiment early is during the offseason. And according to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, the Sixers will explore that option to try and fix last offseason's mistakes.
Now that Philly's rumored plans are out there for all to see, how does the Sixers' big man feel about this report floating around while the season is still going? Apparently, he isn't thinking too much of it. According to The Inquirer's Keith Pompey, Al Horford is doing his best to remain focused on the season -- not on what might happen months from now.
"All I can say is I am focused on right now," Horford stated on Sunday night. "I can't control speculation. That is a decision they would have to make when the time is right." At this point, it's clear the Horford experiment is a bit tiring for both parties. While the veteran big man is on good terms with the Sixers' organization, things haven't exactly gone as planned.
Not only is Philly struggling to get Horford going, but the veteran also seemed somewhat frustrated when he found out he was going to begin coming off the bench a couple of weeks ago when the team was healthy.
While Horford didn't give his head coach a hard time after he was being told he was benched, Horford did admit that's not where he saw himself being when he initially signed with the Sixers. If the Sixers are able to find a trade partner this offseason, it would probably benefit both, the team and Horford. For now, though, they have to make it work.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_